Depressed divorcèe, Roslyn Tabor (Monroe), and Gay Langland (Gable), an aging ex-cowboy, who survives by rounding up and catching mustangs (and selling them to slaughterhouses). Wallach plays Guido, Langland's pilot partner, and Clift plays Perce Howland, a drifter rodeo rider.Written by
John Huston insisted on using real wild horses for the rodeo scene. The horse Montgomery Clift had to ride was too wild for the actor, but Huston insisted that he sit on it in the bullpen chute for a close-up. When the horse lost control it threw Clift against the side of the chute, ripping his shirt. That was the take Huston used in the film. See more »
When Gable, Monroe, and Clift look at the horses in the distance with the binoculars, all three of them hold the binoculars upside down (but they still work, of course). See more »
Young man, do you have the time? I got six clocks in the house and none of them work.
Twenty after nine.
After? It's twenty after, dear. Dahlin'. Five minutes.
What about you?
I'm all set, I just tyin' my sling. The lawyer said nine thirty sharp, dahlin'.
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Opening credits are shown on and around puzzle pieces. See more »
Marilyn Monroe's breathy voice and little girl sweetness have a depth and reason in this film that most of her other roles lacked.
The Misfits, written by Monroe's ex-husband Arthur Miller, is as harsh and dark as his relationship with the actress apparently was. While over-written and plodding, the dialog has an earthy reality that seeps out from time to time, aided in no small way by John Huston's excellent direction and stunning cinematography.
Marilyn's equally iconic co-stars Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter realize their parts with finesse and feeling. But Monroe stands out in this modern day, psychological western not for her beauty or glamor but for a contemplative strength and tragic emotion the actress seldom revealed on screen.
She seemed to be emerging from her sex-pot shell in her impersonation of a drifting divorcée drawn to a trio of struggling, yet oddly aimless, Nevada ranch hands. Her expressions and mannerisms are natural, at times weighted with a sadness, a tiredness that may not have been acting at all. Whether intentional or not, these facial shots of grief and pain are exquisitely disturbing, as much for their fleshing out Marilyn's personal travail at the time the movie was made as for the mixed-up character she was playing.
Her sensitivity to the plight of the wild horses the ranchers are capturing and killing for illegal profit, is brilliantly well-paced, her anguished dialog in defense of their freedom evocative of larger social issues coming to the fore in the 1960s. The poignant scenes of her outrage at the men's treatment of the horses are in fact seething in their intensity, giving the viewer a tantalizing glimpse of the caliber of talent Marilyn held in reserve, and would likely have expressed to greater acclaim had she lived longer. As it turned out, The Misfits, with all its pathos and desolation, underscored by sweeping desert backdrops, was Monroe's last film. Perhaps unavoidably, it's regarded by many as a metaphor for Marilyn's own professional and private turmoil.
And it may be. But it's also a splendid tribute to the range of her abilities. More than any other movie in which she appeared, the hauntingly heroic, if flawed, tale of The Misfits is the finest, most compellingly honest work Marilyn Monroe ever achieved.
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